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Archive for the ‘Universal (International)’ Category

4 guns WC cropped

Directed by Richard Carlson
Starring Rory Calhoun, Colleen Miller, George Nader, Walter Brennan, Nina Foch, John McIntire

Four Guns To The Border (1954) is an excellent 50s Western from Universal International. It’s been a hard one to track down, but our friends at Explosive Media are taking care of that.It’s coming to Blu-Ray in December.

This picture gave actor Richard Carlson one of his few directing credits. He does a tremendous job. Wish he’d done more. Four Guns To The Border has a great cast, gorgeous color and will be terrific on Blu-Ray. Can’t wait!

Thanks to John Knight for the tip!

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Directed by Hugo Fregonese
Starring Stephen McNally, Coleen Gray, Willard Parker, Arthur Shields, James Griffith, Armando Silvestre, Georgia Backus, Clarence Muse

Apache Drums (1951) was producer Val Lewton’s last film; he died before its release. Though this was his only Western, and the only time he would produce a Technicolor film, Apache Drums is very much an extension of his earlier work in horror films at RKO. It’s a terrific, but sadly overlooked, 50s Western.

It’s coming to DVD and Blu-Ray in November from Explosive Media. I’m so stoked about this one. Highly, highly, highly recommended.

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Directed by Raoul Walsh
Starring Rock Hudson, Julie Adams, Mary Castle, John McIntire, Hugh O’Brian, Dennis Weaver, Forrest Lewis, Lee Van Cleef, Glenn Strange

Next up from Explosive Media is Raoul Walsh’s The Lawless Breed (1953), coming to DVD and Blu-Ray (region free!) in September.

Raoul Walsh, Rock Hudson and Julie Adams during shooting.

It’s a pretty inaccurate story of the outlaw John Wesley Hardin, played by Rock Hudson. The manuscript for his autobiography is used to launch the picture as a series of flashbacks. 

With Walsh’s typical no-nonsense, propulsive direction, a really strong cast and incredible Technicolor photography from Irving Glassberg (which will really be something to see in high definition), The Lawless Breed plays as a better movie than it actually is. Highly recommended.

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Directed by R. G. Springsteen
Starring Tony Young, Dan Duryea, Dick Foran, Elsa Cárdenas, Jean Hale, Emile Meyer, David Carradine, Ray Teal, Harry Carey, Jr.

Gordon Kay produced the last batch of Audie Murphy Westerns at Universal International, along with a few other pictures like Taggart (1964). It’s got a great cast, with Dick Foran, Ray Teal and Harry Carey, Jr. supporting Tony Young and the great Dan Duryea. This was David Carradine’s first film. It was based on a Louis L’Amour novel. R. G. Springsteen directed, and he would direct a number of the A.C. Lyles Westerns over at Paramount. These films carried the 50s Western torch into the 60s.

Explosive Media is bringing Taggart to DVD and Blu-Ray in August, part of a summer full of terrific Universal International Westerns. They’ll be Region Free, folks, so order away!

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Directed by George Sherman
Starring Audie Murphy, Felicia Farr, Stephen McNally, Robert Middleton, Jan Merlin

Explosive Media out of Germany has announced another Audie Murphy picture coming to DVD and Blu-Ray in June — George Sherman’s Hell Bent For Leather (1960).

The first of the Audie Murphy pictures produced by Gordon Kay for Universal International, Hell Bent For Leather was directed by George Sherman in CinemaScope and Eastman Color. This one has a good part for Felicia Farr, one of my favorite actresses from 50s Westerns (The Last Wagon, Reprisal!, 3:10 To Yuma), and really incredible Lone Pine location work from Clifford Stine. This is a good one!

I’m so stoked that someone has gotten around to these Gordon Kay Murphy films on Blu-Ray, so a big thanks to the folks at Explosive Media. Highly recommended.

Thanks again to John Knight for the news.

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Directed by Harry Keller
Starring Audie Murphy, Barry Sullivan, Venetia Stevenson, John McIntire, Kenneth Tobey

One of the last run of pictures Audie Murphy did for Universal International, produced by Gordon Kay and directed by Harry Keller (with a day or two by an uncredited George Sherman), Seven Ways From Sundown (1960) is a good one. Murphy’s as cool as ever, and there’s a great part for Barry Sullivan. Plus, John McIntire and Kenneth Tobey are along for the ride.

Explosive Media has announced a May 22 release for the picture on DVD and Blu-ray. It’ll be in its original 1.85 and region free.

It’s a solid picture (and it gets a chapter in my book). Highly, highly recommended.

Thanks to John Knight for the news.

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Will Freeman brought this to my attention.

Universal International used this really cool aerial gunfight shot from George Sherman’s Dawn At Socorro (1954) was used in a montage in Jack Arnold’s Red Sundown (1956).

Thanks, Will!

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Directed by Jesse Hibbs
Starring John Payne, Mari Blanchard, Dan Duryea, Joyce Mackenzie, Barton MacLane, James Griffith, Lee Van Cleef, Myron Healey

Universal’s German “branch” has announced an upcoming nine-movie Blu-Ray set featuring a good, but somewhat random, selection of Westerns — many available on Blu-Ray for the first time.

There are two Audie Murphy pictures, Jesse Hibbs’s Ride Clear Of Diablo (1954) and Gunpoint (1966).

Jesse Hibbs’s Rails Into Laramie (1954) is a cool, sadly under-seen 50s Western with a really terrific cast. It’s been on my Want List for quite some time. 

Also in the set are Jacques Tourneur’s Canyon Passage (1946), George Sherman’s Comanche Territory (1950), Douglas Sirk’s Taza, Son Of Cochise (1954), Smoke Signal (1955), Lonely Are The Brave (1962) and The Ride To Hangman’s Tree (1967).

While packages like this tend to lead to some duplication in your DVD/Blu-Ray collection, they offer up some really good stuff. Recommended.

Thanks to (birthday boy) John Knight for the tip!

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Quantez (1957)
Directed by Harry Keller
Starring Fred MacMurray, Dorothy Malone, James Barton, Sydney Chaplin, John Gavin, John Larch, Michael Ansara

Just finished recording a commentary for Harry Keller’s Quantez (1957), a film I appreciate more every time I see it. It feels awkward to plug these things when I work on ’em, but this one is something special. The movie is ripe for rediscovery — and I think it’s the best commentary I’ve done.

It’s also a picture with superb art direction and cinematography, so high-definition will be a big plus.

Horizons West (1952)
Directed by Budd Boetticher
Starring Robert Ryan, Julia Adams, Rock Hudson, John McIntire, Raymond Burr, James Arness, Dennis Weaver

Horizons West (1952) has the great cast of contract players — Adams, Hudson, McIntire, Dennis Weaver — and gorgeous Technicolor we expect from Universal International Westerns of the early 50s. It’s a post-Civi War story of Ryan’s ambitions getting the best of him. Budd Boetticher keeps it short on running time and long on action. 

The color will make this one really pop on Blu-Ray. I’ll be recording a commentary for it next week. Both pictures are expected in May from Kino Lorber. 

There haven’t been many 50s Westerns riding up on DVD or Blu-Ray lately. These will help make up for it.

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Kino Lorber’s second set of 50s Westerns on Blu-Ray serves up some good ones: The Redhead From Wyoming (1953), Pillars Of The Sky (1956) and Gun For A Corward (1957). It’s due April 6.

The Redhead From Wyoming (1953)
Directed by Lee Sholem
Starring Maureen O’Hara, Alex Nicol, William Bishop, Alexander Scourby, Robert Strauss, Gregg Palmer, Jack Kelly, Dennis Weaver, Stacy Harris

Maureen O’Hara runs a saloon and ends up in the middle of the usual cattlemen vs. settlers thing. It’s short, fast and beautifully shot by Winton C. Hoch.

Pillars Of The Sky (1956)
Directed by George Marshall
Starring Jeff Chandler, Dorothy Malone, Ward Bond, Keith Andes, Lee Marvin

Jeff Chandler is a calvary officer trying to keep his troops and Dorothy Malone from being scalped. Harold Lipstein shot it in CinemaScope on location in Oregon. Filmed right after The Searchers wrapped, it features a number of the same players (Ward Bond, Walter Coy, Olive Carey, Beulah Archuletta).

Gun For A Coward (1957)
Directed by Abner Biberman
Starring Fred MacMurray, Jeffrey Hunter, Janice Rule, Dean Stockwell, Bob Steele

This one weaves a family struggle into a cattle drive and rustlers story. It looks great in CinemaScope and MacMurray is terrific.

All three come with a trailer and commentary (I’m doing Pillars Of The Sky). And given Kino Lorber’s track record with their Universal movies, they’ll look terrific.

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